This week at Casey we're visiting huts and out on the sea ice

Perks of winter

This week at Casey we have seen our first operational sea ice travel, for Australian Antarctic Science Project 5503 “Observatory of East Antarctic near-surface atmosphere and cryosphere” or as we call it sea ice drilling. Five people were selected to venture onto the sea ice, drilling holes at specific GPS locations to record the data so it can be sent back to Australia for analysis. Hopefully, this process will be repeated weekly depending on weather, after all it’s the Antarctic.

That’s right - a bunch of tradies keeping the science of the Antarctic going, along with all other maintenance tasks around station - there’s never a dull moment.

The average depth of ice was between 700-900mm with the thinnest found being 600mm with snow cover varying from 50mm to 200mm. With the weather having been quite nice with little snow over the last few days meant we could easily see the fresh cracks in the sea ice which seemed to go on for ever. Seeing the cracks from landmass to landmass and realising we were riding quads on giant floating pieces of ice with stunning back drops from the short appearance of the sun seemed unreal.

Nathan Grace, Diesel Mechanic

Hut Life

Station life here at Casey is grand, but you would be crazy to pass up an opportunity to get off station and visit a hut or four.

After all, we have gone through so much to make it down here, might as well make the final effort and see what Antarctica is all about!

“But Tom!” I hear you say. “Why would anyone want to leave the warmth and comfort of the Red Shed to go and dig out a doorway in -20 degrees just to stay the night in an old hut? Do the huts even have Wi-Fi?”

Well who needs Wi-Fi when you can argue over a game of Euchre! Or as we call it, a game of “What’s Trumps again?”

With mid-winter almost upon us, some could argue the best time to get out has been and gone. But that does not dwindle the spirits of these hardy expeditioners, battling the cold to get out and enjoy what Antarctica has to offer…

At Casey, the usual huts we overnight at are Wilkes, Robbo’s, Jack’s and Browning’s.

Each hut has its perks, Browning’s is far away although arguably having some of the best scenery (plus elephant seals!).

Wilkes is the biggest hut and its proximity to station makes it a great last-minute decision for a jolly.

So, for this week’s icy news, it is all about #HUTLIFE

Tom Herbert, Electrician